1. I know social media activists are trying to help identify a lot of the people that were at the Jan 6 insurrection, but I’m curious how people feel about this so-called “crowd sourced investigations”? Here’s a short thread on several instances where this has gone wrong:
2. To start, there’s the famous case of Sunil Tripathi from Boston, a young man struggling with depression, who had gone missing in mid-March 2013. After the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013 he was misidentified by social media users as a potential bomber npr.org/sections/codes…
3. There’s also a great documentary about his case: helpusfindsuniltripathi.com
4. After the Paris attacks, Veerender Jubbal’s photo circulated as a potential suspect. An innocent photo he posted of himself was doctored, was picked up by some media, and then his life was for a time made absolute hell. washingtonpost.com/news/the-inter…
5. I remember vividly that a few activists and journalists were asking me whether I think one of the attackers could be a “Sikh convert to Islam from Canada”. All of that began on social media.
6. Then there’s the case of the guy who harassed and attacked a group of people, including a young girl, putting up signs in support of George Floyd.

The internet went after the wrong guy and turned his life upside down. nymag.com/intelligencer/…
7. After the attack in Nashville, and after the name Anthony Quinn Warner started circulating, people on social media started picking on a guy named Tony Warner. They went through his and his wife’s Facebook page and put photos of them on the internet. wsmv.com/news/when-do-p…
8. In the first case after Capitol Hill, a Chicago firefighter from Mount Greenwood was called a terrorist and accused of killing a cop with a fire extinguisher. The person they accused was actually grocery shopping in Chicago. patch.com/illinois/chica…
9. I know not every social media investigator isn't built the same, and some do excellent work. But, we also have to take into account the damage it can do if you’re wrong.
10/10. Curious to hear what others think, whether there are best practices in this area, how ethical questions are dealt with, and so on. I have zero skills to do any of this, so interested in what others think.

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More from @AmarAmarasingam

10 Jan
1. (THREAD) So, it seems like the deplatforming debate is once again kicking off, so I thought I would introduce some of the earlier work that was done in this area back when ISIS was buck wild on social media. What have we learned over the last six years might be useful today:
2. One of the earliest studies that discussed the impact of suspensions of ISIS accounts was @intelwire and Morgan's piece: The ISIS Twitter Consensus.

They found that suspensions did have an impact on replies and retweets and overall dissemination. brookings.edu/wp-content/upl…
3. After suspensions, the die-hard supporters dedicated themselves to creating new accounts, but others whittled away: “it appears the pace of account creation has lagged behind the pace of suspensions”
Read 18 tweets
8 Jan
“After close review of recent Tweets from Trump’s account and context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence” blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/c…
Read 5 tweets
8 Jan
1. NEW by me, @ShirazMaher, and @charliewinter for @crest_research.

Anyone paying to ISIS channels on Telegram in 2019 noticed something strange in late November: they started to disappear en masse. We decided to take a closer look at the data. crestresearch.ac.uk/resources/how-…
2. These kinds of campaigns by Europol and social media platforms had happened before, and researchers either didn’t notice much impact on Isis presence online or noticed that ISIS channels came back pretty quickly. November 2019 was different.
3. They didn’t come back. They started experimenting with other platforms, supporters started freaking out and scrambling. I asked a Europol official about what was happening. 👇🏽ctc.usma.edu/view-ct-foxhol…
Read 8 tweets
29 Dec 20
1. My new piece for @Slate on election violence in the US, but a look at one peculiar reason for why we haven't seen much of it so far. slate.com/news-and-polit…
2. When it comes to conspiracy theories, most of the academic literature looks at why people tend to be attracted to them, and the kinds of impact they have on behavior.
3. Study after study has shown that people who deeply believe in conspiracy theories are less likely to vote, less likely to vaccinate their children, have dwindling levels of trust in government and expert systems, and are generally unlikely to donate money or volunteer.
Read 8 tweets
10 Nov 20
1. Some of the post-election conversations in the US sound a lot like the post-conflict zone conversations I’ve heard in various countries I’ve studied and worked in. Quick thread on why the next few months are going to be very difficult:
2. I don’t need to re-cite all the articles here, but I think most of us agree with the premise that there was something qualitatively different about the Trump era.
3. I have a lot to say about reconciliation in this context, but let’s just focus on something preliminary and basic for now: conversations about post-conflict reconciliation often naturally create two camps:
Read 12 tweets
6 Nov 20
1. There's good research on conspiracy theories, which shows for example that 400,000 people would need to be "in" on the lie for the moon landing to have been faked.

Same logic applies here:
2. Can you imagine how many people would have to be in on the lie to steal an election with 144 million votes?

How many of your neighbors, grandparents, random twenty year old volunteers, would all have to be part of some big cover up?
3. And THEN, to make sure the cover up isn't too obvious, you make sure that you lose a bunch of seats in House, and make sure the Senate isn't a landslide.

Make sure that as votes are counted, that several thousand go to Trump. Cus, you don't want to raise suspicion, you see.
Read 5 tweets

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